Sunday, 30 June 2013

Silver studs and Golden rings

Silver-studded Blues mating, Plebeius argus
I led my first BC walk yesterday at Stedham and Iping Commons. The weather was perfect, sunny with some cloud. Before the walk started I had found 20 male Silver-studded Blues and a female so I was confident of a successful walk. Twelve butterfly enthusiasts enjoyed the sights and sounds of this beautiful terrain. We found several male SSBs by the path on Stedham Common and then arrived at the hot spot where about 20 males and 5 females were seen, including mating pairs. A huge Golden-ringed Dragonfly munched its way through a bee and an SSB was found wrapped up in a spider’s web. A Yellow-tail Moth caterpillar was also found. Other species seen included Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Clouded Buff and Common Heath.  Spanish photographer Bego kept us busy and amused posing for her project about butterfly enthusiasts. After lunch we walked on Iping Common and found an enormous  Drinker moth caterpillar crossing the path. I estimated the total number of SSBs seen during the walk at 50.
Silver-studded Blue, Plebeius argus

Silver-studded Blue, Plebeius argus
Silver-studded Blue wrapped in spider web

While the spider was attending to the Silver-studded blue, a fly flew into its web.
Immediately the spider rushed off and wrapped it up then returned to the butterfly.

Silver-studded Blue, Plebeius argus

Meadow Grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus
fly-by on Armed Forces Day
Bego photographing Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria
Clouded Buff, Diacrisia sannio
Drinker moth caterpillar, Euthrix potatoria
Drinker moth caterpillar, Euthrix potatoria

Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Cordulegaster boltonii
This huge dragonfly was feasting on a bee

photgraphing the dragonfly

Iping Common
Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus
Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus
Butterfly party
Yellow-tail Moth larva, Euproctis similis

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Voles, Terns and a Shrew

Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
On Monday afternoon I visited Arundel WWT and was delighted to witness several interesting wildlife behaviours. I observed the first one from the footbridge over the pond outside the entrance. The Moorhens have produced a second brood just a few days old. A first brood chick fed two of the second brood chicks.
I saw two Water Voles in the reserve. The first swam from the far end of a pond, under the footbridge I was standing on (when it was too close for my lens to focus), then exited from the opposite end of the pond. The second was out of the water before I could take a photo. I spotted a Common Shrew enjoying the spoils underneath a bird feeder. A Wren boldly flew onto a fence post and preened itself for a few minutes. A Sedge Warbler sang his heart out from the top of a tree, then flew up and around and came back to the same tree top. It repeated this feat, then flew off and sang from a nearby tree. The Black-necked Swans have a family of fluffy white cygnets.

The Sand Martin hide had two Common Tern chicks on the nesting platform and Black-headed Gull chicks provided more entertainment nearby. A pair of Canada Geese had 11 grown-up goslings grazing nearby.
Black-headed Gull chick, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Black-headed Gull chicks, Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Canada Geese, Branta canadensis
Common Shrew, Sorex araneus

Black-necked Swans and cygnets, Cygnus melancoryphus

Common Spotted-orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii 
Common Tern, Sterna hirundo
Common Tern chick, Sterna hirundo

Common Tern with two chicks

Moorhen chick, Gallinula chloropus

First brood Moorhen chick feeding second brood chicks
Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

time to sing from another tree

Water Vole, Arvicola amphibius

I saw the second water vole here
Wren, Troglodytes troglodytes